Tuesday, September 1, 2015

East-West Rainier Valley Greenway coming soon/WorkOUT!

Maybe you have heard a lot of talk about Greenways. What is that? I can tell you how confusing it is. It has nothing to do with medical marijuana or making the environment more green. What we should be calling this is a neighborhood greenway. Now that we have the terminology clear let's get started.

Neighborhood Greenway: In Seattle, the city is working with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to created streets that have low car volumes. When this happens a greenway can do the following:

  • Improve safety
  • Help people get across the street
  • Force drivers from using these streets as speedway shortcuts
  • It provides a nice calm route to places people want to go: parks, schools, stores, restaurants
It's a first, but south Seattle is in the process of building one. Right now it is under construction! People who live on this section have not been paying attention and really don't know. I have had to explain it over and over to puzzled looks. I somehow wonder if the hilly route has people confused. How hilly? To demonstrate I took my 11 year old and son mounted on my Edgerunner on the route. The 11 year old on her own wheels. Let's see what happens.

Here is the route cut out of the SDOT map with the proposed north south Greenway. Don't worry, I will get to that soon. WHAAAA, nobody told me. Let me tell you, yes they did. You probably threw out the piece of paper when it came in the mail. Sometimes useful stuff comes in the form of paper mail, wow. Read it next time.

Here we are starting at Martha Washington Park. How beautiful and easy.

My kid stopped and got off her bike. It was 90F and for whatever reason she insist on carrying that backpack around despite my offers to put it on my bike. Don't ask me, TWEENS. The backpack weight=close to 50lbs. I don't get it.

Now let's look at our next section

Why are we stopped on the side of the road? This is not a hill we choose to do. In fact, many people don't choose to walk of this hill, except on Shabbos. You get to hear our conversation going up the hill. You clearly hear me say, "the assist is helping me". Towards the ends you hear me saw, "ooh", with panting.

See. The older kid can not do this hill so I am forced to help her. The older kid is walking on the sidewalk banging the Hooptie tube on the ground because that's fun. 

It doesn't even look steep in this video. To get a better idea I found the elevation grade for this block. 
Only 14% but why did it hurt so much? I forget, I had all that stuff on my bike. In any case, 14% is not normal for anyone. 

I will give you the alternative. Just bike north on 57th Ave. S until you hit Seward Park Ave and make a left. This way you don't kill yourself or hurt anyone. The purpose is to get John C. Little Sr. Park and go past vital resources. 

At the top you will find some nice things. See the bike push button. Oh ahhh. Interesting segmented green paint. Stopped here on my bike was not a good idea because I got a lot of people I know in cars slow down and wave. I know a lot of people who drive, crazyness.

Next section. I'm clearly still recovering from the first bit but here goes. Before you do, look to your right. Do you see the nice button on the street for me to push so drivers will stop?

Bang bang, the Hooptie side became a cane for the older kid. Doesn't she know those things are worth gold? The Edgerunner has versions now. They keep improving on design so the version I have has highly valued Hooptie rails. Gold.  I asked my daughter if she can bike down Holly? It's steep and goes straight into Rainier Ave. If she messes up she will end up on Seattle's most dangerous road.

That's what does it looks like when you get to the top. of S. Morgan. Yes, we were down there by the water.  Wheee.

To give you an idea on grade. It's only 9%. To think that people walk from down the hill up S. Morgan on Shabbos is crazy but people do it.

 This section is not extraordinary. It's basically flat, boring!

We turn right and end up on S Holly biking West towards Rainier Ave. My kid finds this hill kinda steep so she decides to bike very slowly on the sidewalk, just in case she falls.
We are babies. Why are we so scared? It's only 5% at that point. Yeah well. People walk up this street to to get to shul on Shabbos. In fact, I find this street a great alternative to going up S Morgan from Rainier Ave.

Once we get to Rainier Ave. It is pretty easy. In fact, it's enjoyable except for the part where I tell my daughter that we have a little hill. I kinda wonder why Seward Park Ave S.  was not factored into the route. An alternative would be to take people from Martha Washington Park to Seward Park Ave and then turn left to bike towards Seward Park Ave. S (going south). I can see the reasoning. The safest way to get across Rainier Ave requires a dedicated crosswalk. Aside from S Holly, a person would have to walk all the way to S Othello to get a crosswalk with a light. This make several points of access way of the route: Senior Center, Housing Services, and MLK Elementary.

These next sections are easy for anyone. Some this are routes I use. Still, the whole Greenways concept confuses and perplexes people. The guy on the corner or Holly/Rainier is opening up a Cafe soon and he knows about it and is very excited but other than him, nobody else knows. So, it will be interesting when the whole thing is finished. At that particular corner I think a bike push signals will be installed because I see the markings for them but it could be I'm wrong.

In Part 8 we had to take the sidewalk because SDOT was working on making speed humps or cushions. Yes, their is a difference. The more you know.

On a separate trip on my light bike. I am approaching Rainier from S. Holly. See the speed cushions? These ones are segmented to allow for drainage. 

Humpy speed hump. This one is not segmented so drainage must be good?

The last part of the Greenway worries me a bit. As you can see in the previous video we have to ride up on to the sidewalk to get the pedestrian signal. The light won't change and I am not walking across the Light Rail tracks whenever I feel like it. The choo choo could hit us.

The route is still under construction but I did a nice thing for you. I filmed the whole thing so you don't have to. Horray. Once it's completely finished I will film it less segmented on a regular bike. Wow!

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